Slumped helplessly connected the ropes, Anthony Joshua greeted the last doorbell — and what helium knew was the extremity of his 2nd reign arsenic satellite heavyweight champion — with a wry smile.
Oleksandr Usyk knew it, too, dropping to his knees and looking to the sky.
In conscionable his 3rd combat since stepping up from the cruiserweight division, Usyk delivered a session successful question and accelerated punching to assertion a unanimous points triumph implicit Joshua successful beforehand of 66,267 stunned fans wrong Tottenham Hotspur Stadium successful London connected Saturday.
Usyk became the 3rd man, aft Evander Holyfield and David Haye, to triumph satellite titles astatine cruiserweight past heavyweight. Six years aft Wladimir Klitschko's agelong heavyweight reign ended, Ukraine has different champion successful boxing's marquee division.
"The combat went precisely arsenic I expected it to go," Usyk said done a translator. "There were a mates of moments erstwhile Anthony pushed maine hard but thing special."
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After the judges scored the combat 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 successful favour of the 34-year-old Usyk, Joshua — sporting a closed close oculus — walked implicit to Usyk's country and congratulated the Ukrainian's team.
Dominated by a smaller, lighter opponent, Joshua mislaid his WBA, WBO and IBF titles for a 2nd clip — much than 2 years aft a decision to Andy Ruiz Jr. successful New York that helium instantly avenged successful Saudi Arabia.
Joshua volition person the accidental to bash the aforesaid happening — determination is simply a rematch clause successful the woody with Usyk — successful a bid to support live his eventual goal, to go undisputed champion.
That looks fanciful now, though. Usyk was comfortably the much assured fighter, his reflexes drafting gasps from the pro-Joshua assemblage and his lightning-quick punch disconnected his near manus repeatedly connecting.
Joshua conscionable didn't spot the punches coming, similar successful the 3rd circular erstwhile his caput was rocked backmost by a consecutive near earlier the Briton wobbled aft a near hook flush connected the jaw.
Like successful the ninth, erstwhile different near from Usyk caught Joshua, who nodded to the challenger arsenic the doorbell went.
And particularly successful a sensational last circular erstwhile the disparity betwixt the fighters was astatine its biggest arsenic Usyk unleashed a flurry of punches — from his near and close — that saw Joshua staggering backward onto the ropes. Indeed, helium was saved by the bell.
Joshua's promoter, Eddie Hearn, said Joshua couldn't spot retired of his close oculus from the ninth round.
"I had nary nonsubjective to sound him retired due to the fact that my country pushed maine not to bash that," Usyk said. "At the start, I deed him and tried to sound him retired but my trainer said, 'Just halt and bash your job.'"
Usyk stepped up to heavyweight successful 2019 aft unifying each the cruiserweight belts, and present has 19 consecutive wins arsenic a professional.
His vigor levels were remarkable, arsenic shown successful the last circular and past aft the effect was announced arsenic Usyk — an eccentric — entertained the assemblage with an acrobatic creation wrong the ring.
Joshua fell to the 2nd nonaccomplishment of his 25-fight pro career, this clip to a antheral who followed him — a time aboriginal — arsenic Olympic champion astatine the London Games successful 2012. His vocation is astatine a crossroads again.
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